Annie’s Mailbox: Father wants son to mend rift with sister
September 10, 2010
Dear Annie: Three years ago, our daughter, "Lucy," married a wonderful biracial man, and they now have a beautiful little girl. Our son-in-law has a great job and is a positive influence in Lucy's life.
She is going back to school to obtain a career in a related field, and we are helping her with the tuition.
We also have a son, who is married and has a lovely wife, a 5-year-old daughter and a baby boy on the way. Lucy loves her niece and used to spend a lot of time with her.
However, her brother decided that since she married outside her race, she no longer exists and he refuses all contact. While he doesn't directly antagonize her, this major slight drives Lucy crazy, and if they are ever near each other, she turns it into a confrontation.
We have no idea where our son's bigoted reaction comes from. No one else in the family is like this. Needless to say, his attitude doesn't facilitate a family get-together.
We love both of our kids and grandkids and try to divide our time equally between them.
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Our son doesn't lecture us about visiting his sister and her family — he doesn't say anything about them at all.
But, when our daughter hears that we have talked to her brother, she calls us bigots by association and cuts off all communication.
We don't endorse his bigotry and have been unable to change his viewpoint, which he feels is sanctified by his church.
Is there any hope to reunite this family?
— Frustrated Father in Sarasota
Dear Sarasota: Not unless your son changes his racist attitude.
But, your daughter should learn to differentiate between her brother's abhorrent views and those of the people who love him.
Now that she has a child of her own, point out how that bond doesn't end because the child grows up to have wrongheaded opinions. Sympathize with her position, but explain that her demands are unfair to you.
You also can mention that the only possibility of helping her brother become more enlightened is if you continue to talk to him. We hope he'll come around.